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August 12, 2005

Competition for Port Erie shipyard lease

The Erie Times-News reports that three groups are interested in taking over the lease on the Port Erie shipyard, one of the two largest on the Great Lakes.

The shipyard«s main feature is a 1,250 ft x 130 ft dry dock. The end 150 ft of the dry dock is covered and has a 100 ton and a 20 ton overhead crane with 80 ft of working height.

The Erie-Western Pennsylvania Port Authority has been looking for a tenant since January, when Metro Machine said it would not renew its $500,000 a year lease.

One proposal before the port authority comes from Van Enkevort Barge & Tug Co. Owner Dirk Van Enkevort pitched his plan to a port authority meeting Friday and has already made a formal proposal.

He told the Erie Times-NewsSuitors that he has contracts for ship repair and shipbuilding and that to meet his deadlines, he needs to begin work by December.

The newspaper reports that his largest project is building a 740-foot barge and a 135-foot tug.

"I have a lot of work coming in, and I need the yard as soon as possible," he sis quoted as saying. "I can commit to 200 jobs within 12 months." interested in Erie's shipyard have until the end of August to make their move.

The newspaper says the port authority has also received two letters of interest from other organizations.

They have until Aug. 31 to submit detailed proposals. The authority hopes to vote on a lease agreement by its Sept. 9 board meeting.

Erie Management Group is one of the other organizations interested. According to the newspaper, Stan Shumway, president of Erie Management Group, said Thursday he would not provide details on his group's plans and would say only that it would be a joint venture between local and international businesses and would involve taking over operations of the main shipyard building and its entire 11-acre site.

The newspaper reports that the other letter of interest "came from a trio of shippers interested in ship repair."

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